Sureal double standard
I find this story rather sureal.
The situation seems to be that a family traveled willingly to another country. It is implied that the father then decided to stay in that country with his children and with the mother if she wishes. The mother was always free to leave at any time. The father has done nothing illegal under that country’s laws or under NZ laws. He has not done anything to harm the childrens’ relationship with the mother or to seperate them.
Diplomatic intervention in a foriegn country.
A NZ female diplomat has rushed into the situation to visit the mother. I’m sure they would not bother to do that for a father but that’s OK, the visit was what should happen. The mother has then attempted to kidnap the children. When she was prevented the female NZ diplomat has then staged a sit in to demand that she be allowed to kidnapp the children. The article goes on to state that at the end of it all the mother has not seen her children (by choice) for a week. Yes fathers you read that correctly. A week. And by choice.
We already have a patently false allegation that “The children live on two or three pieces of fruit a week”. Give me a break! An entire community moved to protect the children from being kidnapped but yet they are starving them. Sure, of course they are. Thus making it clear the father has every reason not to trust the mother to be honest in any divorce in NZ. We all know what the outcome of these false allegations are for the father in NZ’s system. He clearly has every reason to believe his relationship with the children would have been terminated and he would have been improverished in NZ under our system.
Apparently it is not enough to have daily destruction and seperation of children from fathers in NZ. NZ diplomats and the Labour party insist that other countries should behave the same. The hypocracy is breath taking. Don’t even get me started on the open reporting of what happens in another country versus what happens in NZ. The double standard of the response to this situation versus what happens to fathers on a daily basis in NZ defies adjectives.
Update: apparently the mother has clamed down and admitted that she; “..had no doubt they were safe with her husband and his family”.
It is unlikely she would have admitted that under NZ’s system because NZ’s system rewards the mother to continue with the false allegations.
The issue is the incredible spectale of NZ telling other countries that they must allow a parent to kidnap children.
NZ wants to spread it’s fatherlessness to all courners of the globe.
What made me laugh is the NZ diplomat asking the father to surrender her (the diplomat) citizens! I thought those citizens are first and foremost the children of the father and the mother.
Of course the situation is not laughable but the father, the mother and the children are the victims if the NZ family law and how that law is hijacked and skewed (Weemens Refuge is the main instigators) to serve only mums interests. All foreign fathers know what awaits them when things are not rosy with their wife or partner. At the minimum they consent to an order to not travel with the children abroad, or their children are legally kidnapped from them after protection orders without their knowledge are engineered by Weemens refuge. if, out of desperation, the father goes into madness to see his children then jail (crime) is their lot. They certainly have no diplomat (local or otherwise) to come to help them re-kidnap their children.
Of course this is the lot of many local NZ fathers.
In Helen’ Clark era more then 30 women died because of Weemens refuge inciting women, sometimes with threats, to break from their families.
It is a sad situation for both mum and dad. and of course it is tragic for the children.
NZ needs to enact laws fair for both parents. A parent is punished only and only if (s)he obstruct access to the children to the other parent.
Thanks Vman, for bringing this story to MENZ. (There are so many stories highlighting modern misandry that it’s hard to keep up.) I agree with you about the hypocrisy of a female NZ taxpayer-funded diplomat who went to such emotive and inappropriate extremes on behalf of a mother when every day children are abducted from their fathers and our government employees don’t do anything, don’t care. Of course, if it’s a damsel in distress then everyone treats it as important but if a man is heartbroken, even suicidal, over having his bonds with his children slashed by their mother (supported by our law enforcement and Court systems), we hear nothing and the man is likely to have a protection order placed on him to shut down his efforts to reunite. As you point out Vman, this case isn’t even one of the mother being prevented from being with her children.
You also point out the likely dishonest allegations made by the mother. What else did she lie about? Did the father really destroy the family’s passports, or has he simply kept the children’s passports aside to prevent their mother from abducting them to where she happens to prefer they go?
I applaud the father in this story. There is no reported physical abuse (from any of the femi-journalists too), the family has looked after the children, the father has clearly realized that he would be STUFFED in NZ and moved to his own country where he was SAFER.
I hope he, his children, and his wife are able to work things out for the benefit of the children and live a life where neither parent is persecuted for being exactly that. Shame on the NZ foreign office. Perhaps we should be requesting information from the ministry of foreign affairs about Barbara Welton; the New Zealand Consul, who was trespassing, and making threats to the father of Algerian children. Yes, they are NZ citizens too, but they were IN Algeria and thus in the protection of that country.
I wonder if her actions are in line with NZ foreign office policy?
Hay good on this bloke for seeing NZ law what it is and getting out before the unjust system we have, allenated him from his kids, removed half he had worked for,crimilised him for being a father and finicialy distroied him. One up for us boys.Should’nt be this way but it is what it is.
Dear Vman, it is surreal, but surely the whole familycaught$ is more of a horror story than just surreal? As I see it, the familycaught$ leaves Grimm stories for dead….. I read my children Grimm stories, as I believe that the real world includes good and bad and mistakes and errors. But I haven’t yet warned them properly about familycaught$, as they are too angry to listen to me or anyone else.
Trust is the big word. When citizens don’t trust caughts in their own country, let alone in another country, then parents cannot afford to take a chance by trusting caughts. They know that if things go wrong, there is precious little chance of sorting it out at all, let alone at a sensible cost.
The very people who should be helping to protect from thieves, are the worst of the thieves themselves.
In most countries, people keep their passports in the safest place that they know, this is all that that father did.
It is very important to draw attention to these stories, also to compare them to other relevant situations, eg where the parents gender was reversed. It is only through the public knowing the truth and the whole truth, that the public and their children will be properly protected.
Think of a young child that you know. Would he or she be more worried about “other” people knowing his name, or being abducted away from one parent by the other?
I would say that protecting children is more important than protecting the secrecy of their name. What the familycaught is really doing, is protecting its own secrecy, so that the sheer numbers of abductions and other deliberate failures is kept secret. This fuels the population who are then forced to work with them……… or vulnerable to them….
lets discuss these issues openly and try to protect children from the skills of the familycaught$.
Murray you are of course correct.
This father is a New Zealand citizen. I want to know if the NZ diplomatic staff are explaining to him the child support consequences if his children are returned to NZ.
Vman @7 – are you implying that the father would not get custody if he returned to NZ with the kids? Surely not; as already demonstrated, here is a man who clearly loves and cherishes his children. How could the family courts tear them asunder?
The real good news, for him, is that Algeria have chosen to ignore the femi-nasty Hague Child Abduction Convention; so his kids are safe with him as long as they remain in Algeria. Perhaps we should be looking at establishing a support fund to keep him and the kids there; out of the clutches of the nasty little family court and IRD rogues here in NZ?
Sorry guys, butmany of the comments here look a lot like Schadenfreude.
In my books, this father is a child abuser (and one of the worst kind) and the mother has my sympathy.
We’re rightfully appalled each time we hear of the far more common scenario where a mother does everything to undermine any meaningful relationship between the children and their father without any compelling reason.
But why should there be any difference when the gender roles are reversed?
I apologise that my comment was misleading. “In most countries, people keep their passports in the safest place that they know, this is all that that father did.” The mother decamped and assumed that he wan’t returning.
I was neglecting that effectively the father had abducted, by failing to return at the time that we are told he had agreed to return.
I do believe that mothers and fathers should be held to the same standard of accountability. This is why I cannot take the existing familycaught$ seriously.
Having said that, we all live in the real world. Can we blame this father for taking this opportunity, knowing what was [or could have been.. ] waiting for him back in NZ?
Should we blame this father, when he responds realistically to the NZ familycaught$?
Good quality public policy is to create a system of workable incentives, for all parties to respect the proper rights of all other parties. If “we” have distorted our policies so much, then WE gave the father the incentive to behave in this way.
Surely each of us must accept some of the responsibility for our familycaught$ and for this father’s behaviour?.
So Pete, I find no pleasure in anyone who vandalises other people’s relationships, without an extremely good reason.
It is a sorry state of affairs when one woman pays the price, for the behaviour of other women in NZ. Similar to jewish children and a father in France, paying the price for the behaviour of other people of their creed, living thousands of km away in Israel. Some children are disadvantaged because caughts in another country cannot be trusted to honour agreements and undertakings made previously in their own country. Similar when one father pays the price, for the behaviour of other men in NZ.
Lets try to get it right and this will not happen while we wait for “judges” in familycaught$ to keep promises made 3 decades and a few $billion ago. Lets trust people who have shown they are worthy of trust and not people who have shown time and time again that they are unworthy of trust.
‘many of the comments here look a lot like Schadenfreude.’
Why do you say that? Have you been in the hands of an unaccountable, unlawful court? I have. Do you know the situation FIRST hand with the FATHER and MOTHER and CHILDREN? We don’t, but we do see the same old manner in which these affairs are reported.
‘In my books, this father is a child abuser (and one of the worst kind)’
In what way has he abused his children? By not staying in a country that has a court system that regularly abuses children by its rulings that prevent them seeing both oparents perhaps?
The facts in this case are that both mother and father have been reported as saying that they went to Algeria together. That is not an abduction.
It is completely diffierent to the regular child abductions that occur regularly in which the media has no interest.
Very well said Murray!
You ask, if we can we blame him?
My answer is an unequivocal YES! This guy vandalises the relationship between the children and their mother. The excuses you state are in my view just mitigating factors, but not justifications for his actions. This guy is totally unsuitable as poster boy for our cause.
People the likes of Chris Jones who, after going through hell back, still smile into the camera and say that it is important for his son to have contact with the mother serve our cause much better.
Yes JS, I have been through the FC too and I was gobsmacked with the unprofessionalism and arrogance I faced.
In my view, vandalising (using Murrays well chosen expression) the relationship between ones children and their other parent is one of the worst forms of psychological abuse.
Yes, according to the media they have gone to Algeria together, but he clearly had a secret agenda.
“In my view, vandalising (using Murrays well chosen expression) the relationship between ones children and their other parent is one of the worst forms of psychological abuse.
Yes, according to the media they have gone to Algeria together, but he clearly had a secret agenda.”
Pete I disagree from what I have read. The father is more than happy for the mother to stay with the children in Algeria. In fact I’m not aware of a single thing that he has done to vandalise their relationship at all.
Yes he probably had an agenda to leave the marriage. I’m not sure that is even possible in Algeria but let’s say it is. That is an issue between him and his wife. It is no reason for his relationship with the children to be terminated – which is exactly what would have occured in NZ. He seems to have made the entirely logical conclusion that moving to Algeria means that the children will be safe in their relationship with their father and also safe in their relationship with their mother if she wants to remain. She is free to leave and terminate her relationship with the children. However that is entirely her chioce. He is not forcing her to do that at all. In fact he made it pretty clear he wants her to stay and be a mother to these children.
How does that make him the same as the all too common mother in NZ?
I don’t follow your rationale at all Pete.
Pete (#9): Your claim about the nature of the comments in this thread was a vile insult and baseless. I don’t see that any of the comments here expressed any pleasure at the mother’s distress at not getting her way with respect to where the children reside. Most replies in this thread express regret that things are the way they are for that family including the mother, but acknowledge that it would be foolish for this father to allow his children’s future to be placed in the hands of NZ’s authorities.
Perhaps you simply haven’t read the thread properly before throwing around sophisticated sounding insults. As far as we have been made aware, this father would prefer the children’s mother to be fully involved in their lives. But she refuses to do so unless she can bully him into submitting to her preference about where the children live. As we often see, when this mother isn’t allowed total power and control she cries foul, resorts to misrepresentation and false allegations and feels fully justified in doing so. And the feminists claim that need for and abuse of power and control are primarily male characteristics!
Dear Pete, I admire your naive innocent approach to these practical real world problems.
You mention Chris Jones and his principled and patient approach to dealing with familycaught$. In my own opinion, Chris seriously failed to protect Jayden from both familycaught$ and Kay Skelton. Kay Skelton showed no respect for the caughts$ and now that the more complete story is known by the public, I have reduced the respect that I give those thieves and clowns. By letting the familycaught$ know that he had serious money behind him, he enticed the lawyers and “judges” to give the very worst treatment for Jayden, by timewasting and featherbedding the hearings. The loser was poor Jayden, who had years of lies and fractured relationships.
I don’t enjoy to criticise Chris Jones. No human being in NZ should be treated as he and Jayden were treated. He behaved according to how we are taught to behave, but his trust was used against him, to Jayden’s cost. Obviously, what we are taught ought to be tempered by some realism.
Chris Jones’s treatment is not a one off.
As we are not allowed to publish New Zealand stories, lets look to a common law country, Canada and take an example from the book “Counsel for the Defence”, edited by Edward L. Greenspan, QC.
[NZ family law is not common law, as many judgements are not published or even supplied to publishers. Therefore common law does not work in NZ, as the public cannot find out what goes on in secret caughts and as a result, different people have the law applied differently to them.]
Chapter: Taking the Law into Your Own Hands:
Child Abduction and the Defence of Necessity Canada
by RAPHAEL H. SCHACHTER, QC
Extract from: Counsel for Defence Bernard Cohn Memorial Lecture crossexamination.doc
This case was a litigator’s nightmare. My client was accused of abducting his children when they were very young and keeping them away from their mother for nearly ten years. He was charged in May 1982, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was accused, contrary to the Criminal Code, with intent to deprive a parent of lawful custody of a child under the age of fourteen. If found guilty, he was liable to be imprisoned for ten years.
Dura lex, sed lex, one of the oldest clichÃ© s in our legal lexicon, translates roughly as “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” The law, with all its might, and often with all its inflexibility, applies to each one of us. However, being a product of humanity, the law, however imperfect, is also based on principles of compassion and mercy. The defence of necessity is an expression of these values. Its creation by the courts proves that these values are at the core of our legal system. The law recognizes that, in the course of events, human beings are sometimes placed in desperate situations. At these times the Rule of Law does not seem to offer any comfort, but the courts, without condoning illegal behaviour, may excuse it.
The stark facts of the case can be summarized easily. My client and his wife married on May 29, 1971, and subsequently had two children. Ten years later, in 1981, they separated and the wife was given temporary custody of the children. The relationship between the couple became extremely venomous
and, in 1982, my client again tried to obtain custody of his children through the courts. His wife was granted custody of the children, however, and my client had visitation rights only.
On April 11, 1982, my client abducted his two children during a visit and left for California. He took them first to Haiti, and finally to Egypt and Yemen. At the time, his daughter was seven years old and his son was three years old. The following month, on May 18, Canadian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. He was charged under section 250(1) of the Criminal Code with abduction. Although my client lived with his two children in various places in the Middle East for the next thirteen years, his wife did locate her daughter in Yemen, where my client was employed, in 1988 and began corresponding with her. By 1990 my client’s wife was in regular contact with both children, though infrequently. In 1995 my client moved to the United States with the children, and two years later he returned to Canada with them, to be near his aging parents, who required assistance. On March 18, 1999, my client surrendered to the authorities in Montreal and appeared before the court. He was accused of having deprived his wife, who had legal custody, of possession of their two children.
In my eight years as a Crown counsel, four as a provincial Crown and four as a federal Crown, I knew the value of pleading serious preliminary motions before trial. In this complex case, I investigated whether any preliminary motions were available to me based on the facts of the case. I believed there were grounds supporting a stay of proceedings, based on section 11(b) of the Charter and the Supreme Court of Canada’s case in Morin. I thought we had a clear chance to plead a motion for unreasonable delay and to ask for a stay of proceedings.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects a person’s fundamental right to present a full and complete defence. One possible threat to this right stems from an unreasonable delay in criminal proceedings. The Supreme Court of Canada in Morin established factors to consider when analyzing the delay: the length of the delay; the reasons for the delay, such as delays inherent to the nature of the case; the accused’s actions; the public minister’s actions; and the prejudice suffered by the accused. The period that had to be examined in this case ranged from the date of the charges against my client to the date of his appearance before the court.
There were two trials in this case. In the first trial, our motion for unreasonable delay was based on the following facts: seventeen years had passed
TAKING THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS 151
since the initial charges had been taken against my client and the actual commencement of his trial. During that time, he never tried to hide from Canadian authorities. He never hid his address or telephone number, which were listed in the phone book where he was residing outside Canada. He never stopped travelling, despite being stopped regularly at the border in both Europe and the United States. Since 1995 my client had been living in the United States and he often crossed the Canadian border to visit his parents in Montreal. He was never arrested.
A fascinating development regarding the motion for unreasonable delay occurred which I thought would be crucial to its success, but to my chagrin it was not. On Wednesday, November 17, 1999, the Crown prosecutor had called an officer from Interpol as a witness in order to prove that Canadian authorities had done all that should be done to locate my client. The Crown prosecutor had informed us that the Interpol officer was going to bring a small file of a few pages that Interpol had collected concerning my client’s case. However, the file turned out to be four inches thick. The Crown prosecutor asked the court to adjourn until the next day so we could examine those documents. Accordingly, Justice Doyon suspended the trial until the following morning.
I arrived at the prosecutor’s office at 3:00 p.m. on the 17th to review the Interpol documents. I was informed I could not photocopy the documents and could consult them only in that office. The Interpol officer explained to us the difference between a red notice, meaning that an arrest had been requested, and a blue notice, meaning that information concerning whereabouts had been requested. In my client’s case, only a blue notice had been issued. The Interpol officer confirmed to us that there had been a mistake and that a red notice should have been in the file. He also told me that, on three occasions between 1983 and 1986 and also in 1991, authorities from other countries had advised Canadian authorities that they had detained and released my client. While I was consulting the documents, the Interpol officer received a phone call from his superior in Ottawa ordering him to take the file back immediately. He informed me that I would have to apply to the Commission a l’acces a l’information because the documents were being protected. He informed me that even with an application, I would probably never be able to look at the Interpol documents. I had no choice but to ask the Interpol officer to come to testify the next morning and explain the situation in court.
152 RAPHAEL SCHACHTER
The next morning I arrived in court, ready to cross-examine the Interpol officer about the Interpol file. However, an additional surprise was waiting for me. The Crown prosecutor and the chief of Crown prosecutors were waiting with new documents. They had just realized that the Montreal police had a full file on my client. The Montreal police documents contained not only precious information, such as communications between the Montreal police, Interpol, and the Crown prosecutor, but also two indications of limited involvement in the file by our presiding trial judge dating from a decade earlier, when he was acting as a Crown prosecutor. The two interventions were minor, however, concerning whether abduction was an extraditable offence in the United States. We decided this new information had to be revealed to Justice Doyon.
The judge let us plead our case regarding whether he should recuse himself. I argued that the documents should have been communicated a long time ago and that this situation had resulted from the sole negligence of the Crown. More important, it added to the unreasonable delay. The interventions of Justice Doyon were so minor that I felt he would not be in a conflictual situation and would be able to carry on objectively. The prosecutor agreed. Nevertheless, Justice Doyon did recuse himself, to assure the principle that justice must not only be done but also appear to be done.
When the second trial began on March 23, 2000, the parties agreed to put into evidence the proof made before the first judge-the testimony of my client and of his wife regarding the motion for unreasonable delay. As well, there was no objection by Crown counsel that defence counsel should be allowed to examine the Interpol and the Montreal police files.
The information contained in these files confirmed our suspicions. On many occasions, Canadian authorities had the opportunity to arrest my client, but they did not act. Two days after the abduction, my client’s wife reported it to the police, but the authorities refused to take action. The Montreal police and Interpol Ottawa were working together, and a request to extradite my client should have been made, but it never was. Because of the mistaken blue notice in the file, Interpol never asked for the arrest of my client. They requested only that countries abroad report his travelling and his whereabouts. Several communications occurred between Interpol Ottawa and other countries that had located my client. Each time, Interpol Ottawa affirmed that my client’s extradition was not requested. In 1983 my client was
located in Israel, and Interpol Ottawa refused Israel’s offer to detain and arrest my client. Also, the warrant was only Canada-wide, not international. In 1988 my client’s wife got her children’s address and started having contact with them. The following year, my client was stopped at the German border. The Germans informed Interpol Ottawa, but Canadian authorities did not request an extradition, even though there was an extradition treaty between the two countries. In 1995 my client moved to the United States. The Crown prosecutor knew my client’s whereabouts but did not move to extradite him.
Despite these facts, Judge Sirois dismissed the motion, attributing the delay to my client’s actions. The judge insisted on the Morin criteria in determining that the accused’s actions were responsible for the delay and that he could not invoke his own turpitude and hope to succeed in his motion. I was not amused.
Achieving an acquittal for my client in this case was critical. He was an American citizen working for the State Department in Washington. Anything less than an acquittal, notwithstanding a potential plea bargain suggested by the Crown of a minimum of two years in a penitentiary, would be disastrous for him. It was crucial to explore every possibility based on the facts at our disposal and to hope to win the case.
When I saw the codification of the common law defence of necessity, based on the defence of imminent harm, found in the Criminal Code since the amendments made in 1983, together with the relatively recent Adams case in the Ontario Court of Appeal, the appropriate defence became clear. It was commensurate with our pattern of fact.
In April 1982 the defence of necessity applying specifically to cases of child abduction was not yet codified, but it applied in respect of common law principles. In 1983 the legislator adopted section 250(4), which became section 285 of the Criminal Code in 1993: “No one shall be found guilty of an offense under sections 280 to 283 if the court is satisfied that the taking, enticing away, concealing, detaining, receiving, or harbouring of any young person was necessary to protect the young person from danger of imminent harm.” “Imminent harm” is the component of the defence of necessity permitting a Violation of the law.
In Adams the Ontario Court of Appeal enumerated three conditions in applying the defence of necessity relating to child abduction:
1. An honest belief, even if erroneous, from the accused’s part that the child is facing an imminent danger. This belief does not have to be reasonable but is a factor to consider.
2. The abduction was done in order to protect the child from the imminent danger.
3. It was necessary to abduct the child in order to protect him or her. This criteria must be analyzed objectively, but regarding the circumstances as honestly perceived by the accused. Other means that could have been used by the accused should be taken into consideration.
The imminent danger does not have to be of a physical nature and can be psychological. The accused has only to raise a reasonable doubt on each element of the defence.
At trial, the Crown heard only one witness, my client’s former wife. Strategically, I felt that the principal thrust had to be portraying her as unstable just before my client’s decision to abduct the children.
Unfortunately, the heavy publicity and the unsympathetic nature of the fact pattern relating to my client resulted in our not being able to call certain individuals as defence witnesses. One example was the grade school teacher of my client’s daughter. The teacher, we thought, could possibly testify about the laissez-faire attitude of the mother towards the care of her children, and the fact that the daughter’s behaviour was worsening as a result of the mother’s neglect. When we called the teacher to advise her of our expectations regarding her testimony, her attitude became aggressive and her story changed significantly-to the point where we could not depend on her testimony.
Another witness who would have been crucial to our defence was the doctor who had prescribed Halcion to my client’s wife. Halcion is a drug that can produce various nefarious side effects if taken with alcohol, other drugs, or even by itself. It could offer an explanation for the concern my client had with the comportment of his wife at the time he made the decision to leave with the children. When we called the doctor and explained why we were calling, he became furious and clearly told me he would not take part in the “defence of a criminal” such as my client.
Regardless, there was sufficient proof of my client’s wife’s mental state during the crucial time period. My client testified that because of his wife’s
drinking and smoking during the pregnancy, their first child was born with fetal alcohol deficiency syndrome. Then, while pregnant with the second child, his wife fell into a depression for which she consulted a doctor for eight or nine sessions. Through an O’Connor motion, we gained access to her medical files. They confirmed that she had consulted a psychiatrist in 1978. Although the file did not contain precise information, it corroborated my client’s testimony. My client’s wife was consuming Halcion, Valium, and alcohol, she was often out of contact with reality, and she had memory loss. In addition, a report from the older child’s teacher indicated that the child needed a stable home. In fact, that child actually called her father and asked him to take her away from her mother. Finally, my client testified that his wife and her family had laid false attempted murder charges against him in March 1982, for which a jury acquitted him after ten minutes of deliberation.
In 1982 my client tried to obtain custody of his children. The whole family was subjected to an evaluation, and the report of the psychologist was clear-the mother was not fit to take care of the children. On January 22, 1982, however, custody of the children was given to the mother. My client was not even given the chance to explain to the family court judge that the criminal charges were still pending against him. He had lost faith in the judicial process and had no alternative left to protect his children other than to leave with them. He wanted to leave until such time that he would be guaranteed that his children would be safe. That was his testimony, his honest belief that the judge would be obliged to deliberate upon.
The rest of the testimony supported my client’s position. For example, my client never stopped the children from going back to their mother. The son’s testimony confirmed that. As well, my client’s sister, who was a notary, was able to observe the comportment of her sister-in-law because she lived close to her brother’s residence in Montreal. She stated that the children were left alone most of the time. She also testified that the behaviour of my client’s wife’s had changed and that she was absent and not in contact with reality. Finally, she stated that my client’s daughter had behaviour problems and his son, at four years of age, had reverted to using diapers.
My client’s daughter testified that her mother had tried to force her to tell the police that her father had a knife and that he had threatened to kill her. She also testified that, after telling her mother that other children at school had beaten her, her mother told her that she was a liar and that she was the
one with the problem. The sister and daughter who had testified on my client’s behalf confirmed, in a minor manner, the concept of imminent harm. The fact that the children were now university students and well adjusted in their day-to-day activities, and that the sister was a notary, also assisted with the credibility issue for the defence.
Finally, Dr. Ahmar, a pharmacologist who corroborated the psychological reports, testified to the effects of the drug Halcion. He stated that Halcion has these possible side effects: gross confusion and disorientation, mild agitation; memory loss, amnesia, paranoia, and depression.
On May 23, 2000, Justice Sirois found my client not guilty. He said that a reasonable doubt has been raised on each of the elements of the defence. Applying the criteria elaborated in the Adams case, the judge said that my client had an honest belief that his children were in danger and, in his mind, there was no other possible way to protect them.
Counsel for the Defence
The Bernard Cohn Memorial Lectures in Criminal Law
EDITED BY Edward L. Greenspan, QC
In our familycaughts$ we have anarchy and disorder.
If we want to develop and protect our children, we must improve familycaught$ practices, to protect children, not just rob their parents.
It isn’t complex, in fact a simpler system can run at a lower cost and deliver far better outcomes for all members of families. Just throw the familycaught$ away.
Interesting case thanks Murray.
The Canadian case is interesting Murray, but I’m not sure if it is in any way relevant to this case. After all, this father wasn’t protecting the children from an addictive, irresponsible mother.
I totally share the view that the FC and Family Law is a complete disaster in NZ. Having said that, NZ is a democratic country and we have the power to change things. Until that happens, we have to somehow live with the current mess.
I work frequently with fathers who’s relationship with their children has been severed by the family court and/or the mother. The pain they suffer always reminds me of my own in that situation many years ago. Surely, woman in this position feel just as terrible.
Don’t you think this woman would cringe if she came across these comments in this thread:
‘He has not done anything to harm the children’s’ relationship with the mother or to separate them.’
‘What else did she lie about?’
‘I applaud the father in this story.’
Such comments remind me of a hidden camera prank where the female of an acting couple physically and verbally abuses the male. One woman walks past and punches the air in obvious excitement whispering “go girl”.
These kids have spent all their lives in NZ. This is where they feel at home, go to school and have friends and family.
From what I’ve read, the fathers reason for the trip to Algeria was to “visit” his dying father. Not only did his father appear in good health, it also became clear the father had no intentions to return to NZ. In essence, this father unilaterally decided what is best for his children.
Vman, did this mother know that she would have to spend the next 15 to 20 years (until the children are adults) in Algeria if she wanted to maintain a meaningful relationship with them? Would she be able to get paid work in ALgeria or would she depend on her husband? Would she have to convert to Islam, wear a burka and stay at home?
If a mother did what this father did we’d be up in arms about it. And rightfully so.
In a case I was recently involved, a NZ father was concerned that his Australian wife would go back to OZ with their children, all of whom were born and lived all their lives in NZ.
We immediatly filed an non-removal order application with the FC which was granted.
From what I read in this thread I wonder if you guys approve of this?
Should the mother just have taken the kids back to OZ. Surely compared to a NZ mother moving to Algeria it would have been a breeze for this guy to move to OZ.
Hans, this has nothing to do with power and control or vile insults. It has to do with the fact that children have a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents.
Dear Pete, thank you for your challenge. This was only relevant in that the father took action, that he knew could be interpreted as a breach of law, as it was necessary to protect his children. This is more relevant to Chris Jones situation, than the Algerian father situation.
The Canadian example showed that the family court in Canada can make major mistakes (we might excuse it that it didn’t have all available information to hand, as no court ever does) and the only remaining option was to act to protect the children in the real world. This father accepted the risks involved, because he place the protection of his children ahead of a possible later jail term for himself.
It could be claimed that Kay Skelton acted to protect her child, but such a claim is discredited because she acted to cutoff or vandalise Jayden’s relationship with his father, not to protect Jayden’s relationship with her.
Parents with low level psychiatric problems is widespread in our community. These issues often come and go with time, they are not set in concrete and they don’t appear or disappear to fit in with a single one hour appointment with a psychologist. We need to face these everyday realities and make sure that our children have sensible everyday protection from less capable or more hazardous or less skilled parents. Much of the issue is to keep pressure levels on both parents within levels that they can reliably handle. We should be aiming for success, not to overstress a parent and then hold this against her or him.
The situation that faced that Canadian father is more common in NZ than most realise. This is why on separation, both parents should be carefully checked out. This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise. The results can assist the parents to make future plans that stay with their capabilities and thus keep the children further out of harms way. It would probably deter some from separating, as they may not be able to make future plans, that stayed within their actual parenting capabilities. Better to know at the outset and plan accordingly, than to dig a huge hole and fall into it.
I believe that the common thread is that we do need a family court system, which is worthy of people’s trust. This is an international issue, not just a NZ problem. While we talk, instead of taking constructive action, many many children are suffering unnecessarily.
Ok, that clarifies things Murray.
You make a very interesting point:
“This is why on separation, both parents should be carefully checked out. This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise.”
Can you elaborate on this?
In my submission to the FC review I proposed that in cases where parents appeared to be in a venomous conflict after separation police should investigate the matter and report back to court. This could include interviewing teachers, neighbours, employees, friends as well as checking existing records. This might well shed more light on the situation than an s133 report conducted in staged environments or the psycho-bable that is frequently the product of L4C interviews.
Dear Pete, to be useful, a risk assessment must access a fairly complete record, as you suggest. I wasn’t quite going that far, but certainly a long way in that direction.
Psychometric tests (tick which option of 5 matches your attitude) are very low cost to score, but have some weaknesses in being fakeable. There are methods of bringing this to attention, which add very little cost. In any case, you only get out as good as you put in. If there was cheating, then this leaves that parent, both parents even, more likely to later lose the care of their children, so there is a fairly strong incentive to not cheat. Also, if the test results can lead to help for the parents, cheaters deny themselves help.
Identifying problems isn’t as difficult as “professionals at something else” currently do in familycaught$. The information gathering you described above will highlight a number of situations, which seem to illustrate parenting problems. Then, by further discussion with the parents, the underlying issues can be brought out. This may be painful, but if there is a real desire to follow through and get separation, the Government can make it the price. These are issues that the parents must show, will not cause more or unacceptable problems, especially for the children, when the parents are parenting separated. If parents are willing to cooperate to get through this phase, it uses their time and relatively little cost. If they don’t work together, then they are unlikely to be given permission to remove the children from the parental home unless they do spend big on psychologist services.
Much of the procedure, would be getting parents to work together to assemble the information and challenge it. Rather than affidavits at 10 metres, with only 1 challenge, the process is to get parents to work together, to complete their challenges BEFORE submitting a shared affidavit. To largely solve their issues, with minimal outside guidance and checking.
The Kay Skeltons of this world would quickly find that submitting false affidavits costs them directly, as costs would be allocated on the basis of who caused them. If this lesson can be learned early, then a huge amount of suffering later on can be magically avoided. The consequences must flow reliably and accurately on from parent’s behaviour.
These are all old ideas, the magic lies only in doing them!
Pete I think you are misguided.
“Until that happens, we have to somehow live with the current mess.”
Pete, that is precisely what this father has done. He has acted entirely within the laws of New Zealand and within the laws of another country.
Not only that but you are yet to convince me that he has done anything morally wrong.
“Don’t you think this woman would cringe if she came across these comments in this thread:
‘He has not done anything to harm the children’s’ relationship with the mother or to separate them.'”
Well Pete, it is a fact. You have not disputed this fact. How she reacts to me stating that fact is her choice. If she didn’t want me to examine the facts then she should not have taken her family matters to the media.
Likewise if she didn’t want me wondering about her honesty she should not have made blantantly false allegations about the father’s care of the children.
“In essence, this father unilaterally decided what is best for his children.”
I think this is what you are really objecting to.
What he has effectively unilaterally decided is which country his children should reside. He has NOT made any determination that they should be seperated from their mother. THIS IS THE KEY DIFFERENCE.
You may think NZ is so vastly superior to all other countries to raise children that people should not be allowed to choose another country. However 6 billion other people seem to manage it.
You are making the moral judgement that the children are better to be raised in NZ than Algeria. You have no right to make this judgement. That is entirely a parenting decision. Niether you NOR the NZ diplomatic staff have any business at all in forcing people to raise their children in which ever country they see best. This is a basic human right.
The UN convention on human rights include the right of movement. I.e. to live where they see fit. This is also in NZ’s bill of rights.
My parents “unilaterally” decided to move to another third world country when I was a child. I had spent all my life up to that point living in NZ. It would have been absolutely morally wrong for the government to prevent my parents making this decision.
Your objection seems to be that in this case the mother and father did not agree about this parenting decision. I.e. to move to another country.
Well the sad reality is that parents disagree all the time. In something like where to live it is difficult to compromise hence one parent is going to get their wish and one parent is not.
What is happening is the father is getting his wish and the mother is not.
That is NO concern of the government of New Zealand. None at all.
What would be of concern is if the father also obstructed the children from having a fully involved mother. This is NOT the case.
THIS IS THE KEY DIFFERENCE.
What is relevant is that if NZ laws and systems ensured the children’s relationship with both parents would be maintained after a marriage breakdown then quite possibliy the father would have decided his children are best to be raised in NZ. However that is not the situation at all.
Therefore he has made a clear, child focused decision to raise the children in another country where their relationships with both parents can be maintained.
NZ needs to stop pushing around people in foriegn countries and take a hard look at it’s own government, systemic and societal failings.
Dear Pete, you mentioned your own familycaught$ submission. Would you be willing to share your submission, or as much as is possible? I would be very interested to read it. Thanks, MurrayBacon.
Pete, thinking about this further there are 3 key diferences here:
1. The father did not divorce/seperate from the mother. He continues to provide her with a home, food, security. In fact his actions make it very clear he wants her to stay in her key role in an intact family unit. This is crucial. If they had first seperated or announced an intention to seperate physically then I would view this very differently indeed. However they are married and he has made it clear he wants her to stay in the family home with the children. This is a vital distinction.
Mothers that relocate children away from their fathers don’t do that. In fact they demand and suceed that the father pays financially for this terrible decision that the mother made.
2. The father has made it abundantly clear that he wants the children to have day to day contact, love and care with the mother. Again a VITAL distinction.
Mothers that relocate children away from their fathers don’t do that. Their lowest priority concern is the children’s relationship with their father.
3. The male parent can expect to have the children’s relationship seriously degraded if not eliminated if he stayed in NZ in the vast majority of cases. The female parent has no such concern unless she is a complete nut case or very clearly proven to be a risk to the children.
This third aspect is also a vital distinction. You can rightly argue it is morally wrong to use this third aspect as any sort of justification. Unfortunately it is the sad reality. Hence I do not agree that a female parent in NZ relocating with the children is the same (provided that the male parent is geniunely motivated for the children to maintain contact with their mother). There is a such a gross unequality in family law outcomes in NZ, with such a very long history of resisting improvements that I argue there is a distinction.
I am not saying I support relocation of children away from one parent.
Not at all. It’s unconcionable!
I am saying there are consequences for our terribly baised handling of relocations and custody issues.
I am saying that under the current system and in light of the facts I don’t blame this father. When a system is so massively unfair about such a vital ting as one’s love for a child then why wouldn’t fathers look at ways around the system?
My main concern was the double standard in the reaction of the NZ government and the media.
I believe change will only occur when the consequences of the current system is seen to harm people other than fathers. Hence I will admit my empathy for the mother is less than it might be. However as stated above I have clear rational reasons for viewing this case differently than a child abduction case.
Dear Vman, excellent child focussed analysis. I strongly support this approach and it must be balanced with the proper level of care for the father and mother too.
Just saying “the best interests of the child are paramount”, then wringing the family finances dry doesn’t serve anybody’s paramount interests, except for the thieverous legal workers. This is a bit like the medical profession, half a century ago saying “the operation was a success, but the patient died”. There are much better ways of looking at these issues nowadays.
“I believe change will only occur when the consequences of the current system is seen to harm people other than fathers. ”
There is something very wrong with our society, if we don’t listen to men advocating sensibly for their own interests. (It has recently been similarly true for women.)
Men must stand up and be heard (and say sensible things!!!!!)
On the listening side, men are the worst culprits, it is mainly them that we need to persuade, alas.
Thanks to all of the contributors, for their creativity, breadth of thought and playing the issues, rather than the man. This is one of the best threads that I think I have ever seen on menz. I hope we can keep it up, to mix metaphors! With the familycaught$ review now in the silent phase, we should be looking ahead and making sure we are prepared so we can keep up with the play, when it starts moving fast. Thanks again!!!
Murray, I’m happy to send you my submission but via e-mail (pete at kapiti dot co dot nz). I like your ‘old ideas’ a lot. We’ll no doubt be in for a fight with those who do so well for themselves under the status quo.
Vman, I question if ‘he didn’t break any laws’. I fear he violated the Hague Convention. He gets away with it because Algeria is not a signatory.
His “commitments” to his wife are simply a farce as he can be certain she’ll not hang around in Algeria. This is where he vadalises the relationship between chidlren and mother.
The story would be totally different if they had decided upfront to move to Algeria permanently.
Also, you have not responded to the Aussie wife who wanted to take the kids to OZ. If you support this guy in his action, you implicitly also support her.
“Vman, I question if ‘he didn’t break any laws’. I fear he violated the Hague Convention. He gets away with it because Algeria is not a signatory.”
No. Even if Algeria was a signatory it would not apply. They are married and they travelled both together with the children to another country. The Hague Convention does not apply. The only way the Hague convention would apply is if the mother grabed the children and wisked them off to New Zealand, like she tried to do. THEN it would be an abduction and the Hague Convention would apply.
You are still confusing this case with an abduction – which it is not.
“His ‘commitments’ to his wife are simply a farce as he can be certain she’ll not hang around in Algeria. This is where he vadalises the relationship between chidlren and mother.”
Well that isn’t supported by his behaviour. He tried very hard to get her to stay. In addition he has left the door to that option open. Also I was very specific about what he has done. They are married and he has provided home, food, security etc for her. This is not a situation where he has expected her to fend for herself.
If he had kicked her out of the house it would be different but he actually made it abuntantly clear to everyone that he wants her to stay and that he will help her achieve that.
You are loading all sorts of predujices onto him. You have assumed that everyone can not wait to flee Algeria to come to New Zealand. What you don’t seem to realise is that NZ is not such a great country to live in for many people. It has some good points and some bad points. So does Algeria and every other country.
There is no reason for you to assume that he thinks his wife would be crazy to stay in Algeria. There is no reason for you to think that at all. He married her and had children with her for goodness sake!! It is entirely possible that they both planned to move to Algeria at some point in their lives. It is quite common for people to plan their retirement in a poorer country for example.
You are confusing this situation with an abduction after seperation.
I agree with you that he has basically forced his decision on her. However the key is that he has done that within a marriage and he has stayed loyal to her. It is like the man of the house deciding that the family is going to move to Invercargill over the wife’s objections. It happens in families all the time and it is no business of the government.
if he had kicked her out of the house or had run off with the kids it wold be totally different.
“In a case I was recently involved, a NZ father was concerned that his Australian wife would go back to OZ with their children, all of whom were born and lived all their lives in NZ.”
So clearly the concern was that the mother was going to run off with the kids. Illegal and immoral.
Yes he could possibly move to Australia but I bet the mother was not going to have him in the same house as the kids 24/7, 365 days a year.
Not likely. She was going to create barriers to him caring for the children on a day to day basis.
Am I right?
If she was going to run off to Australia with the kids, without him and without his consent then I can’t imagine she was going to provide a house, food and security for him to live with the children and care for the children in Australia.
Am I correct?
No. She was planning to abduct the kids and place barriers between the children and the father. Even if he followed her over there and over came all those barriers, why would she stop there? Quite likely that would be the start of a pattern.
Pete, I am not saying that one should relocate ones family without mutual agreement. I think that was wrong. I can only imagine that the marriage was on the rocks or the guy is just has a different view of marriage to me. I’m not the marriage police. People can conduct their marriages how they wish. However I have to consider that if the marriage was on the rocks then he has found a way to keep the children’s relationship with BOTH parents intact. This is very unlikely to occur under NZs systems.
The key issue in all of this is that NZ provides almost certainty that the children’s relationship will be seriously damaged if not terminated with the father.
Algeria apparently has a system where both parents are almost certinaly guaranteed a close and involved hands on role for both parents.
Therefore taking his entire family to Algeria and then electing to stay together as a family unit in the same house is perhaps the best of a bad situation. He is sort of forcing the family to stay together for the children’s sake while still allowing the mother her human right to leave the children if she feels her way of life in NZ is more important to her.
In essence he has placed the children’s relationships with both parents as his first priority. Her life style has lost out.
Stealing the kids and running off to Australia with the obvious intention of effectively terminating the children’s relatiosnhip with the father is not the same thing. Particularly when we all know that the mother is extremely likely to get custody of the children if she stays in NZ anyway. There is nothing redeeming about that.
If we say no parent can relocate without the other’s consent. This would be OK ONLY if we first guarantee both parents a hands on day to day role with the children in NZ. Without that fathers are forced to look for their own less an optimal solutions. Not every father is going to accept their relationship with their child should be automatically terminated with they divorce the mother.
The failure is not this guy. The failure is the NZ systms.
Thanks for your comments Vman, I see much better where you’re comming from.
This part is intriguing:
“I agree with you that he has basically forced his decision on her. However the key is that he has done that within a marriage and he has stayed loyal to her. It is like the man of the house deciding that the family is going to move to Invercargill over the wife’s objections.”
This is certainly not a concept I subscribe to. Would you accept the woman of the house making such a unilateral decision?
But then you say:
“Pete, I am not saying that one should relocate ones family without mutual agreement. I think that was wrong.”
I certainly go along with this one, but doesn’t that contradict with the previous paragraph?
Then you add that “you can only imagine that the marriage was on the rocks” (and I get that feeling too). Now doesn’t this make his actions even worse? What else is he entitled to decide on her behalf? Where are the limits?
Also, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I never suggested NZ “is better” than Algeria (nor any other place). I didn’t say it was so bad one would want to escape immediatly. I was making very justified assumptions that this matter would have been on the table between the too in the past and that the wife would have opposed relocation to Algeria. Why else would he have to take her there under false pretences?
The place names and the genders are entirely interchangable, what I’m objecting to is one parent vandalising the relation between the children and the other parent. Unfortunately this happens when parents with dependent children move long distances apart.
Last but not least, you are of course rightfully annoyed with media & government attention this case attracts.
Pete (#30): What else is she entitled to decide on his behalf?
Your question makes me wonder if I’m wrong to assume that we’re all in support of gender fairness (I’m deliberately not using the word “equality” because in my view that’s impossible).
Pete I am with you 100% on relocations after seperation. I think such moves should be illegal except in very extreme circumstances. The difference here is that they are still married and she can stay in the home as long as she wishes. I understand better your objection Pete. My point is about what is government business and what is not.
“…But then you say:
‘Pete, I am not saying that one should relocate ones family without mutual agreement. I think that was wrong.’
I certainly go along with this one, but doesn’t that contradict with the previous paragraph? …”
What I meant was that personally I don’t conduct my relationships that way. I only meant it was wrong for me. However I know two NZ women who make major unilateral decisions and tell their husbands if they don’t like it they can leave her and the children. So in some marriages it happens. I am not the marriage police and niether is the government or the media.
If this man wants to conduct his marriage in a similar way to the two women I mentioned then that is their business.
It in no way justfies the NZ diplomatic service rushing in and attempting to abuct children from their father. Then staging a sit in like a petulant child when she (the diplomat) didn’t get her way. Only in NZ would she still have her job.
It seems to me that Hans’s question goes directly to gender fairness. However I am a NZ male so it is not as if I have ever experienced gender fairness in NZ. Perhaps I wouldn’t know what it was.
I respect that this question caused you to consider gender fairness. Actually, it was your own question from #30. I simply reversed the genders.
That’s the issue. This couple disagrees about where to live with their children. According to you, he is “a child abuser (and one of the worst kind)” unless he capitulates to her preference. Of course, she (and you) will come up with reasons why her preference is best, but no doubt he would do the same. You make various assumptions about the course of events, e.g. that he deceived her from the outset about the trip etc, but we don’t know the details or the back story. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on her account because she has already been shown to have lied about matters.
If the couple were in NZ, talked about living in his country and she refused to go or allow the children to go, would she be a child abuser? If he then said he was going anyway with or without the children would he be the poor abused victim? Well, here we have a couple in Algeria disagreeing about whether to live in NZ; the context is different but the basic issues are the same: Who gets the say? If your partner doesn’t do what you prefer, do you rush off to seek aggressive assistance and/or spread lies through the media about the situation and your partner?
The assumption is that the mother should get the say and if she doesn’t then everybody should rush to her assistance and anything she does is quite justified. That seems to be your assumption too. To me, rather than to run to authorities and the media to bully him into going along with her preference, she could have stayed there and discussed the matter until a resolution is agreed to. That’s what most people would expect of a man in a similar situation, not that he tries to use force to get his way.
‘Gender fairness/equality’ that you accuse others here of lacking seems to be the thing that you can’t grasp in this situation.
Though we don’t know the details, for argument’s sake let’s assume he plotted the situation to get the children to Algeria where he always intended to keep them there if possible. Yes, he deserves some criticism for that deceit. But he knows that his partner doesn’t agree with his wish for the family to move to Algeria for a while where he feels a strong need to support his family of origin and to receive support from them. Perhaps he believes that the he, his wife and the children will be better off in Algeria for whatever reason. And he loves his children and doesn’t want to be without them or for them to be without him for any significant period. And he knows that Hell will freeze over before he could ever get a NZ Court to let him go with the children against the mother’s wishes (even though mothers are often allowed to do so against fathers’ wishes). And he knows if he goes without the children they may not be safe with his wife, she is likely to feel abandoned (or even worse, disobeyed!), she is likely to prevent them from contact with him and/or when he returns she might use NZ family law to exclude him from their lives beyond a day or two per fortnight if he’s lucky, yet he will have to pay heavily for her upkeep with no reciprocal obligation on her part. And he knows that lawyers will encourage her to feel aggrieved and NZ family law will collude with her wishes, especially since he has left the children behind. Tough choices for him to make. He makes them, and many here will understand his position.
But the truth may be very different. There may have been skullduggery in NZ already that threatened his relationship with the children. This is very likely given that it occurs so often to NZ fathers. He may have made the decision to stay only after arriving in Algeria and with the luxury of distance was able to see the state-sponsored abuse likely in store for him back in NZ. There are many possible scenarios in which we might applaud him for his stand. Similarly, if a woman truly were being physically and/or emotionally abused by her partner in a country where family law was likely to support him but not her, I would applaud her for getting herself and the children out.
Well said Hans.
Relocation cases are probably the most difficult Family Court matters. If one parent chooses to live a significant distance from their children then someone is going to have to travel be it the children, mum or dad. Probably all have to travel with significant costs, disruptions to work, reduction in promotion prospects, interference with schooling and at a loss of other activities that could be done instead. However that is the situation with relocation after separation if we believe the best parent after separation is both parents.
What annoys me about this case is the Nationalist fury that our media sought to whip up. We had multiple NZ citizens involved most of whom were also Algerian citizens as well. All our newspapers focused on was mum’s views wrapped in nationalist and racist claptrap that somehow NZ is a better place to raise children than Algeria. Dad and the children are also NZ AND Algerian citizens but the NZ media seem to ignore those facts.
I have a current case involving a Dutch mother and a child who is both a New Zealand and Dutch citizen. Despite the rhetoric of the Haugue’s “protection” of status quo, Mother has successfully lived in The Netherlands in breach of NZ FC orders for many years and if change happens it does so at a snails pace. It makes me cynical if any cross cultural or cross geographic relationship is ever “safe” from future relocation woes.
The only father suicide that I was close to, was after an international relocation hearing in NZ. After 5 1/2 days in familycaught$ discussing mother’s psychological desires and putting down the father’s demeanour, a few hours discussing access practicalities and an hour discussing financial practicalities but with only half the data on the table, a year later the father gives up with carbon monoxide.
Sure, it is easy to criticise the father for his decision and for deciding to fight from a legal losing hand, but I cannot see that the hearing promoted the child’s best interest or probably either of the parents. The father knew well the consequences of fatherlessnes, his job was helping children almost all of whom had grown up that way. As is often the case, there are other issues that I haven’t mentioned.
The remaining impression, is only of a familycaught$ process that was almost completely irrelevant to the real world, in which the child and parents live(d). More backward looking, than forward looking.
I think that the family court make relocaiton after seperation cases harder than they need to be. Many of them are not hard. They simply need to say several very compelling child focused reasons are required. Really the reasons need to be overwelming. The default and most common outcome should be that the relocation with the child is not allowed. A parent awlays has the choice to relocate without their child. In 90% of cases the relocation should be denied. It should only be allowed in exceptional cases. In NZ most relocation cases are granted. Often for relatively minor or non child focused reasons.
The way relocation cases are handled in familycaught$ is very much win/lose, which is the way to apply the maximum possible amount of pressure to the parents, to open up their wallets and spend on legal-workers.
The best interests of the child, in my opinion, would be better served by good faith negotiation, with trading between the parents (as described in Family Court Rules). However, familycaught$ behaves that the custodial parent can make location decisions and practically all major guardianship decisions on their own. (Of course this is in contrast with Parliament’s legislation, which clearly sets out that guardians should consult each other on these decisions! But this conciliatory approach wouldn’t generate as much legal-worker charges. Just another un-managed conflict of interest in familycaught$) This situation seems to be a clear breach of the Fair Trading Act, by familycaught$!!??
Good faith negotiations need parties to be able to have confidence that one can give up something in the present, for a future alternative benefit in the future. As familycaught$ always wants to relitigate, rather than enforce old broken familycaught$ orders, parties cannot have reasonable faith that such an agreement will be honoured. When overseas caughts are involved, then they cannot realistically have any such confidence.
So, a very long period of time has shown that faith placed in these caughts is far misplaced. Maybe better methods of enforcing agreements lie in the real world.
One good test of claimed good faith negotiation, is to have an escrow agent hold a bond, or caveat over for example a house, with presigned agrements for sale of the house and use of the proceeds to sort out problems that might arise. As long as litigants are well informed, this gives a degree of information during the negotiation, as to whether the other party is acting in good faith. (There can be problems in the present familycaught, where the suggested agreement still required familycaught$ action, before anything can happen. The delays and unreliability of this, seems to make it largely useless. Also “judges” often pressure parties to accept bonds which are unrealistically small, compared to the actual job of sorting out the issue. For example, in return applications to Hague Convention countries, often many hundreds of thousands of dollars is needed, to even get a 30% chance of return. Thus, suggesting a $5,000 bond as being enough, is quite deceptive. For non-Hague countries, the figures are about 30x higher.)
Skillful competent (not psychiatrically impaired) parents don’t take this kind of gamble with their children. As a result of these corruptions, our children are not able to take the best from what both of their parents can offer (but the legal-workers can take the best!).
I never once said that it would be OK for her to make such decisions on his behalf. In fact, I pointed out that if we heard of a similar case where a women would have done what this guy did, we’d be up in arms about it and rightfully so.
This, plus the fact that moving half way around the world away from the other parent is synonymous with vandalising a parent/child relationship, was the reason why I objected to the general tone here.
As I see it, we need family laws and a court (as a last resort) to make decisions in such matters when parents just can’t agree. From my experience as McKenzie friend (and relocation is a very common issue), the courts generally do not look favourably at parents wanting to relocate, not even within NZ if distance makes contact difficult. Unless a family had lived in different towns (or countries), the parent wanting to leave has a tough time convincing the court and, should he/she succeed, conditions imposed are not very attractive (at least to those parents planning to abide by them).
I’m not going to argue for or against this, but I do welcome the fact that the courts treat such matters fairly consistently (at least in my experience).
I have no doubt that in this case, the guy was aware of the fact that his chances of taking the kids legally and against the mothers consent away to live in Algeria was virtually nil. By doing what he did he forced the decision on his kids and his (ex?) wife. Clearly, she does not want to live in Algeria for whatever reasons and I have no doubt he would have been aware of that.
His move severed numerous relationships. Had dad left on his own, it would have been 2. She had a right to stay, he had a right to go, but he did not have the right to force the others to come along.
As I said, I would be equally appalled if a mother did what this guy did.
I absolutely see where you are comming from Pete.
Moving on to talk about relocations in general. If a relocation is granted then there must be no exceptions to the following conditions:
1. If a relocaiton has already occured and then the matter comes in front of the court. The court must immediately order the children to be returned until it decides the matter.
2. There must be a large bond held by the court which will be used to fund any applications to enforce the courts orders and also to be used punitively if more than one breach of the courts orders is up held. If Further breaches of contact orders must force the court to investigate the merits of reversing it’s original custody ruling without an application required.
3. All court ordered visits must be paid for by the relocating parent. This parent must show proof to the court that they will be able to fund these visits prior to granting the relocation.
4. A variation of any compulsary child support is similtaneously awarded. This variation must mean that child support is at least halved by default. This is to reflect that the parent left behind still has to maintain an empty house for when the children visit and also the inevitable higher costs of maintaining contact.
5. The parent left behind is encouraged to appply to the court for a further reduction of child support once the true costs of maintaining contact are known. This also is to encourage additional non-ordered visits to the children.
6. There must be follow up.
Let’s see how many relocation applications they have to deal with after those mandatry min conditions are published.
Pete (#39): I know it will be unproductive to continue this debate, but you did write, in #30, “What else is he entitled to decide on her behalf?”. As I wrote in #34, I simply changed your question to “What else is she entitled to decide on his behalf?” because that applies equally to this particular case.
Your slant is clearly not accurate in claiming that he moved “half way around the world away from the other parent”. They went to Algeria together and he says he is happy for them all to stay there. This does make this case different from most of the international relocations that we encounter. The couple with their children now find themselves in Algeria and there is disagreement about whether they re-relocate to NZ.
Another thing that makes this case different is that it involves a father escaping from a regime that is clearly biased against fathers and men, as opposed to a mother leaving a mother-supportive regime in an attempt to push the children’s father further or completely out of their lives. The current case is one in which a family disagree on where to live together, not one in which one parent is trying to keep children far away from their other parent.
I question your view that FCs treat relocation applications consistently, at least between genders. I believe most such applications come from mothers who of course are overwhelmingly allowed to be the priority parents with fathers relegated to a role of the lesser parent as weekend or fortnightly playthings and money suppliers. I am not aware of any case in which a father who applied to relocate children against mother’s wishes was granted the right to relocate but I am aware of a number of cases in which mothers were allowed to relocate, always for reasons of their own benefit and sometimes to children’s clearly predicted detriment (e.g. having to leave good schools, positive social groups etc). In my experience, if a mother is persistent enough in making ongoing applications, or if she simply disregards any Court decisions and relocates anyway, she usually ends up getting her way.
The proposals by Murray and Vman regarding conditions and bonds to be placed on separated parents who wish to relocate away from the other parent are excellent ideas. Research shows that when a separated parent moves children more than 100km away from the other parent, the children’s contact with the other parent usually drops to zero or near zero. This is often because of sabotage and/or alienation by the parent in power, but it can also result from financial constraints on the lesser parent, children’s reluctance to undertake long travel and other reasons.
I may be wrong, but I perceive that quite a few men are not willing to sacrifice their career, partly or substantially, to care personally for their own children. When I asked to share in the care of my own children after separation, I believe that part of the reason the “judges” said no, was that they believed correctly that “most men” would not do this.
Why that should have any bearing at all, I cannot fathom? I see it as mainly prejudice, which is commonly used to fill in the void left by lack of relevant skills (professional of something else!). For my own children, there was no value in partly basing a decision on “most men”……
I believe that “most men” see raising healthy children as low status, or not-macho?
In the wider world, I have come across several situations where “most men” could have had the opportunity to care for their children, but the “judge”, on seeing that they were not already well prepared, just gave the children back to the mother. Maybe this is partly understandable???
I am suggesting that in about 20% of separations, maybe more, that the mental health status of the parents puts the children in the situation that 40 to 60% shared parenting either way, would be safe for the children’s development. But outside of that range, the children are at risk of maldevelopment.
In some cases, a smaller minority, the father might be more empathic and stable and the children would be safe in up 90% his care.
However, it is too common that these fathers are personally unwilling or financially unable to offer more than a fairly low fraction of care. Should we be offering more support (social or financial?) to fathers in this situation?
If the parent’s mental health was evaluated, then this information might deter quite a few couples from separating, or persuade them to delay and plan their separation more carefully, to keep down the risk of having their children removed or damaged.
Currently, psychological reports do not seem to report on the care of the children from the point of fostering their healthy mental health development. Most of the present reports focus on identifying adult pathologies, or what can be thrown and will stick in an irrelevant familycaught$. (Professional of something else – these psychologists are trained as adult pathology diagnosers and adult treaters, rather than as evaluators of parent child relationships and children’s development needs.)
These issues of fraction of care by both parents is of course much harsher for international relocation. Making these decisions, based solely on the desires of the custodial parent, is an extremely dangerous way of protecting the mental health of children.
If even part of the motivation for the relocation is actually to extinguish the role and relationship of the other parent, then ignoring the mental health development of the children is completely failing to do the job of protecting the children.
There is a DVD Victims of Another War, in which adults describe the effects onto their adult intimate relationships, of being abducted as a child.
Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, Breaking the Ties that Bind by Amy J. L. Baker (published by NORTON) discusses her investigation of the effects of parental alienation, based on her interviews with about 40 adults.
We must put more effort to protecting children from selfish and dangerous parents, who can only see their own desires.
Back on the subject of men being already well prepared to care for children, I know of three cases where fathers were suddenly required without any notice to take care of their children, some on judge’s order, where everything worked out fine. So why are many “judges” so cautious?
One “judge” preferred the mother to put children into daycare, than let the father (me) take some care of our children.
To me, the familycaught$ process just looks confused and irrelevant and greedy.
Vman (#40) Excellent conditions! I only would add that we also need to ensure that any orders the court makes are binding and enforceable by police and breaching orders is a criminal offence.
Hans (#41) Let’s turn the whole story around and make it that of a woman who emigrated from Analio (a nation like ours) to Storavi (a nation where they “stone-raped-victims”) and have children to a local. After a while she doesn’t like Storavi any more and doesn’t think it is a good place for her children to grow up. So she crafts a cunning plan to escape with her children from Storavi and go and live in Analio: she tells hubby that her parents are on their last legs in Analio and they need to go there to help out. She never tells him of her true intentions which are to never return. Is this justified?
Murray (#42) How true. So many practical things have changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. Many fathers I meet in our separated fathers group come from households were both parents worked full-time. They claim to have spent as much time with the children as the mother and used to shared chores like cooking, cleaning, housework, home work with the kids, while continuing to do their “manly chores” like going to the dump, stacking firewood, cleaning cars, the gutter, doing the lawns, without complaints.
Yet amazingly, when it comes to care arrangements after separation the same guys constantly reject suggestions along the lines: “There is no point, she will never agree!”. Its like these guys accept that SHE makes all the decisions with the kids like in the days when mothers spent all their time with the kids. Sadly, some of these guys even genuinely feel the kids are her responsibility.
I guess it will take time for men to realise that if they play an equal role in the upbringing of their children during the relationship with their mother they must strive to keep this involvement at the same level after a break-up.